Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
Looking For Something?
Tag Archives: Whole Foods
I’m going to make a pretty bold statement and I invite you to agree or disagree: It feels harder to eat healthy in the summer than it does over the holidays. This sounds sort of counterintuitive I realize, but hear me out for a minute.
Yes, Thanksgiving is a food centered holiday and the month between that day and Christmas are often filled with excessive foodie/boozie opportunities to party with friends. I definitely see treats around my cubicle filled office, and everyone seems to want to show their love for each other with baked goods and See’s Candy. The season is stressful, and I get it. At times we want to “reward ourselves” with a delicious taste of something. We want to “let loose and celebrate” with the people we love. And I do agree that this can pose some challenges. I am not made of wood, people — the holidays are certainly a temptation. But let’s talk a little bit about summer.
First of all summer is THREE MONTHS LONG. I’m not talking four or five weeks of forced decadence, I’m talking an entire quarter of the year where deliciousness abounds and everyone acts like “Oh Hey — No big whoop!” You’ve got 12 weeks of BBQs, Birthday Parties, Weekends Away, and Legitimate Long Vacations where you feel determined to Treat Yo Self! It is the reason that Cobbler and Fresh Whipped Cream were invented. And all of this goes on all summer long! And don’t even get me started about the appropriate ratio of summer nights to summer cocktails. OY! I can’t even go there or I will want to pour myself a drink.
Oh wait, I just did. You see what I’m saying?
While fall and winter lend themselves to cabbage-dense soups and roasted vegetables, summer is filled with ALL OF THE BEST FRUIT IMAGINABLE. I realize this is not a complete tragedy, but as someone who tries to keep the sugar they eat low (usually I have *maybe* 1 serving of fruit per day), I am definitely struggling right now to not eat ALL OF THE PEACHES DAILY. There is an entire box on my counter top and it basically sings to me all day long.
I know you think Christmas parties are bad, but seriously I can only eat so many cheese filled appetizers or iterations of white chocolate desserts. But if you left me alone with this box of peaches right now, you would come back only to find me covered in a puddle of sticky fruit juice, laying on my kitchen floor in a diabetic coma. Luckily summer also has lots of amazing vegetables and great weather that leaves no excuse not to get outside and be active, but I’m sticking to my hypothesis here. Summer is nuts. Right now I am freely admitting that I am roaming around being a poster child for this movement:
Speaking of that 20%, last night there was a Food Truck Festival in the Whole Foods parking lot behind my house. Please don’t get Portland PTSD on my behalf, we made it out alive! I had actually totally forgotten about it and then I opened up our windows and heard the DJ in the parking lot. Hello, siren song. Sing to me…
We headed out just to see what they had to offer, and hopefully find a few mostly-Paleo options.
Instead, the first truck we saw was a Belgian Waffle Truck, which of course instantly made us nostalgic for our Portland Appetizer Waffle and we needed to recreate that experience by splitting one immediately. Nice rationalizing right? So the night started off with a Nutella and Whip Cream covered BANG! (OHMYGOD)
We waited in line at the slider truck hoping to score some burgers on a bed of lettuce to kind of make up for bathing in Nutella, but as we were in line THEY SOLD OUT OF FOOD. The Universe was clearly not on our side. So we headed over to Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen where they were serving…SANDWICHES.
And that’s where this night sort of went of the rails. We ordered The Mustang with some Sweet Potato Fries (doing what we can here! Sweet potatoes! ha!) and let me tell you, it was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Korean Braised BBQ Beef shredded to tender perfection, Kimchi with a touch of spice (Hey look! I’m eating fermented food! Points, right?), Shredded Daikon, SRIRACHA-WASABI AIOLI, and aged Havarti all served grilled cheese style.
Oh you guys…I’m sorry I’m not sorry.
Since we had split everything, we decided it was only right to get a tiny little mix of Vanilla Bean + Nutella gelato to wash it all down. Ok that is a bold face lie. I wanted the gelato, Garrett said “Holly this is a terrible idea and you will regret it.”
I did not, in the moment. Shortly thereafter my tummy was telling another story. I hate it when Garrett is right.
In conclusion, Summer is haaaaaaaaard. But this is probably as good of a time as any to mention the following:
On August 1st Garrett and I are starting our first Whole 30!
Hey — how crazy do I sound juxtaposing pictures of me eating a sandwich with basically the strictest 30 day Paleo challenge ever? HA! Probably pretty crazy. But we are actually really excited about it and have been contemplating it since May. June and July weren’t really going to work since we were traveling so much, but we have decided to get back to our Happy Place during the month of August and embark on probably our biggest nutritional challenge together since we started exploring Paleo. We’re knee deep into planning, prepping and strategizing for a really eye-opening month. I can’t wait!
As usual, I am happy to document my food exploits for your benefit so riddle me this, folks:
*What elements would you like to see surrounding this Whole 30? Recipes? Pictures of Food? Our reasoning behind doing it? Strategies? Resources? Nothing at all, shut up about what you are eating already, Holly?
and then tell me this…
*YOU would have opted for post sandwich gelato too, wouldn’t you?
I knew I liked you. 🙂
I wanted to talk about how I grocery shop today. The plan of the post (requested by a reader trying to determine if a Costco Membership was worth it while eating Paleo) was to detail what I purchase at Costco vs. Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods vs. Our Neighborhood Grocer. Yep I shop at 4 different stores. Not every single Sunday, but since I try and find the lowest prices and sometimes look for specific ingredients, there is never a one-stop shop.
Man, can someone in Sacramento get on that? That would be great.
So I took some pictures while doing my weekly shop last Sunday and worked to write up something cohesive that sort of explained what I buy where. But as I got into the post I started to experience a bit of anxiety. I was trying to communicate an answer to the original question – Should I buy a Costco Membership? I have very specific opinions on that subject, and they are of the HELL YES! variety.
You see for us, it pays for itself each year, and I mean that literally. We pay $100 for the Executive Membership, which offers a 2% cash back reward issued once each year and for us the reward is always more than $100. Yes, it is just the two of us, but between groceries (many which are cheaper than my other 3 grocery store options), household purchases (some are cheaper, some are convenient to pick up in bulk), gas (ALWAYS cheaper), clothing (cheap workout clothes, HOLLA!), booze (always cheaper) and the infamous “impulse purchases” (FUN!) we clearly spend the required minimum of $5000 per year there to make this a good trade off. That breaks down to about $400 per month and honestly between all those things I listed above, we are usually spending more than that.
But the longer the post got and the more stores I started to incorporate, the more I felt like I had to qualify our purchases. The truth is, I love Trader Joe’s (and I used to love it 100x more when I bought all their candy and frozen processed food and pre-made meals) but at this point in my life there are very few items I buy there without “making an exception.” I don’t like their meat (it tends to come from other countries and I live in California so I feel like the least I can do is buy local since it’s readily available.) Their produce SUCKS at all of our locations and the per unit prices are never competitive.
This only leaves a few items on our TJs specific grocery list which include Coconut and Olive Oil, Beef and Chicken Broth, Olives, Almond Butter, Lara Bars, Sunflower butter (Garrett’s addiction) as well as Nuts and Dried Fruit. I buy all of those things there because they are super competitively priced, but when I looked at the photos, I felt like “Wow, seems like a lot of processed food that I could make myself. Maybe I should be buying a better source of Coconut Oil. Shit, my favorite nut mix at Trader Joe’s has peanuts and that’s so not Paleo. People are going to judge the fact that I eat Sunflower Butter.”
Then I looked at the Whole Foods picture.
I basically go there when I want to buy fun stuff. Mint sparkling water to mix with Strawberry Infused Vodka. The Good Olives. Dark Chocolate because it is one of my only vices left. Specialty baking stuff. You know what is notably absent? High Quality Protein Sources. Whole Foods is full of that stuff but they are generally SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE that I don’t pick up my beef there, or my chicken. My god, the last time I bought lamb there it was $25 and only made dinner for one night, and lunch the next day. Do you know how many pounds of ground beef I can get at Costco for $25? TWELVE. Do you know how many meals that makes?
So then I felt like I had to add in this “We’re on a budget” qualification to my post. But I felt douchey about that because who ISN’T on a budget, hello. And when I do the math — the amount of money I spend between all 4 of those grocery stores each month is well over $800. And that’s down from last year when it was over $1000. I get myself over the sticker shock of that by reminding myself that we buy A LOT of things at Costco that contribute to that number that aren’t groceries, but still. I just didn’t feel right rationalizing our purchase of non grass fed ground beef by using the “Woe. We are on a budget so we only buy what we can afford” excuse. Because the truth is, we can be making better decisions on this VERY ADEQUATE BUDGET.
It threw me for a loop. And I immediately felt guilty.
You see, I roll my eyes when I see news articles and talk show segments talking about How To Slash! Your! Grocery! Bill! It’s not that I’m against saving a buck, but I feel in my heart of hearts that I want to be aligning my spending with my values. I say this out loud to people all the time when they ask if Paleo is expensive. Yeah it can be more expensive, but isn’t your health worth it? Behind a lot of those exclamatory article headlines tend to be tips like Buy Less Meat, or recommendations to add cheap filler foods like grains and pastas into your dishes to further your dollar and since going Paleo, that is just NOT a part of our lifestyle anymore. We chose this lifestyle because we believe that food is the 100% most important thing that nourishes our health. We have made some financial sacrifices for it, even. When Garrett and I talk about our budgets, quality food is an absolute non-negotiable. But I had clearly been negotiating my way out of this mindset without even realizing it.
And when I was writing this post and looking at the pictures I just nonchalantly snapped at Costco, it really hit me in the face.
I was actually really upset about it last night. You should have seen me, I was bucking for Best Dramatic Actress in my own kitchen about the fact that WE BUY FACTORY FARMED PORK, OHMYGOD — and luckily Garrett took me by the shoulders and asked the all important question:
“Holly, look me in the eyes. Is this you talking or your period talking?” 🙂
That guy! I don’t always smile when he asks me that question. Understandably, right ladies? But I was being melodramatic. And so if this post is starting to move in that direction again, I just want to clarify the point. The world doesn’t end if you are on a budget. The world does not end if you don’t buy meat that is raised by farmers who only give them positive affirmations and let them go night night on alpaca rugs. There are recommendations everywhere about how to prioritize your food purchases if you aren’t burning money in your fireplace for warmth.
I talk here a lot about my commitment to eating cleanly, and the positive changes that is has brought to my life, so I feel like it’s only honest to also acknowledge when I’ve gotten a little off track. It bums me out, honestly, but I’m going to do what I do best and evaluate where I am, evaluate where I want to be, and make a new list. A new grocery list, actually, and one that is more in line with my values.
That said, I still recommend a membership to Coscto! I mean where else can you find wild caught tuna, bison sausage, roasted seaweed ALL IN BULK.
Oh yes, and reasonably priced LARGE bottles of McCallan 12.
I mean we can’t all be perfect every day, now can we?